Our Elective Dictatorship – A Letter to Conservative MPs

Boris Johnson – Our Elective Dictator? – Source: gov.uk

Two years of outrageous and dysfunctional Conservative Government under Prime Minister Boris Johnson are pushing us dangerously close to an ‘Elective Dictatorship’.

Administratively incompetent. Politically and financially corrupt. Unreliable. Untrustworthy. Self-serving. Litany of broken promises. U-turns. Avoidance of scrutiny. Absence of principle or moral purpose. Deliberate misinformation. Trashed relationships with everyone including the devolved UK Governments, Ireland, France, Europe, and now Albania. Toadying behaviour towards the USA. Regular, repeated, unscrupulous lying, without remorse. Regular and deliberate breaching of the Ministerial Code, the MPs Code of Conduct, and the Public Appointments Code. Contempt for Parliament, the Constitution, and normal, reasonable and historically accepted standards of behaviour.

Outrageous ‘revenge’ policies towards organs of Government, quangos and wider society such as OFCOM, the BBC, Channel 4, the Elections Commission, the Supreme Court, the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, rights to judicial review, international and immigration and human rights laws. Forcing out senior civil servants. Misuse of public funds. Gerrymandering (voting identity, extending first-past-the-post voting). Brash, meaningless, content-free sloganeering. Greenwashing. Hypocritical. Partisan. Nativist. Divisive. A docile, sycophantic, ineffective Cabinet.

Ken Clarke said recently that we are “close to an ‘elective dictatorship’ under Boris Johnson” in both The Independent and The New European.

A populist, undemocratic Government relying on an endless stream of misinformation, withholding public information, spin, photo-opportunities, the adoration of right-wing newspaper proprietors, many arrogant, elitist, unrepresentative Conservative MPs, and a seemingly huge and bottomless pit of money from wealthy self-serving donors, many of unsavoury stripe, demanding favours.

Michael Gove in 2016, and Dominic Grieve, Ken Clarke, Anna Soubry and many other Conservative ex-ministers in 2019, all warned that Boris Johnson was unfit for the job of Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. And so it has proved, with two years of dysfunctional, discreditable mayhem. Everyone knew he was unfit for the job, or indeed for any job in public service, yet Theresa May appointed him as Foreign Secretary, and then the Conservative Party went ahead and elected him as Leader and Prime Minister. He is now leading the Conservative Party towards self-destruction, and he has led and is leading the country into a dark, authoritarian, elitist, unequal, divided place where increasing child poverty and inequality and mistreatment of asylum-seekers is normalised.

Citizens are entitled to responsible, competent, honest Government, responding to the national need across all sectors of society, and delivering on reasonable expectations or honestly explaining why not. We have had the opposite of that.

A disastrous response to the Coronavirus pandemic, with over 160,000 deaths; a disastrous Brexit, causing untold damage to lives, businesses and the economy, with Brexit still not ‘done’, or only poorly ‘done’; ultra right-wing legislation in the planned privatisation-friendly Health and Care Bill (contrary to frequently expressed public opinion); the planned criminalisation of and hostile environment for asylum seekers (within the Nationality and Borders Bill); the planned criminalisation of protestors (within the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill); Social Care most certainly not ‘fixed’; tawdry smear campaigns against the public national broadcaster; deliberately partisan plans to rig the appointment of ultra-right wing Paul Dacre to Ofcom Chair (now failed); to place wealthy Conservative donor Richard Sharp as BBC Chair and Conservative sympathiser Tim Davie as BBC Chief Executive; permanent and unnecessarily divisive culture wars; contrived disagreements and battles with all and sundry; trade deals with Australia and New Zealand which are unfriendly towards climate, environmental, animal welfare and UK farming; increasingly regressive rather than progressive taxation policies hurting the poorest most, and an absence of any form of additional taxation on the more wealthy; deliberate attacks on ‘lefty lawyers’ and so-called ‘illegal’ immigrants. The list of partisan, obnoxious legislation and policies is a very long one.

Instead of an inclusive, democratic, collaborative and consensual approach to national politics, which the country sorely needed after Brexit and during the pandemic, we had this disastrous Conservative Government, Party and Prime Minister doing the exact opposite, perpetuating internal national division and constantly inflaming tensions with the EU. It represents a staggering, shocking, gargantuan abuse of power for personal and Party gain.

We now have a style of political leadership in the UK which is both semi-presidential and personality-dominated, representing a sort of elective dictatorship, which no one voted for. This has arisen as a result of

  1. an 80-seat Conservative majority elected in 2019 on the back of the ‘Get Brexit Done’ slogan (which has now been revealed as a giant deceit on the British people), elected by a combination of a minority national vote and a First Past the Post system of election which favours the Conservative Party;
  2. a corrupt, dishonest, free-market, overly libertarian Prime Minister who has injected and enabled corruption into his own Party; together with;
  3. extraordinarily weak and weakly-enforced conventions, standards and regulations within the British Constitution which have been exploited by a power-hungry Party and by an unscrupulous Prime Minister.

This is a total catastrophe for the UK population.  

It is surely time for Conservative MPs to change their own leadership. Why should citizens have to put up with this misery a moment longer, a misery not of their own choosing but imposed upon them for the political gain of this Prime Minister and this Conservative Party and its donors?

This is not a matter of party politics or personal advantage. It is a question of the survival of decency, well-being and traditional values within our society.

Don’t prolong the agony anymore. Withdraw your support from this Prime Minister. Demand better! Thank you.

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